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View Full Version : Floor Tom Tuning Help - Stick Slap Overtone



staiken
10-02-2012, 08:51 AM
I just picked up a Red Metallic Reference Pure Kit (22x18, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16) and started tuning them last night. Rack toms and kick sound awesome, but I'm getting an odd high pitched ring upon initial attack on the floor toms that I can't seem to reduce. The tone after initial strike is incredible, so I don't want to lose that.

I picked up the kit 2nd hand and it has the stock batter heads and clear Remo Ambassadors on the resonant sides. I swapped both sides out for coated (Ambassador on resonant, Vintage Emperor on batter), and still get this overtone.

The toms do have a nearly polished feel (maybe lacquered inside, which I haven't seen before and I'm wondering if this is contributing to this sound. I put a couple pieces of acoustic foam inside the 16" as an experiment and it definitely killed off the overtone but it also killed the beautiful resonance.

Interestingly, I didn't notice this when testing a Reference Pure kit out in Guitar Center but am noticing it in the studio. The studio room is smallish with wood flooring (the kit is on a rug), and a decent amount of acoustic foam on the walls.

Has anyone else run into this when tuning their floor toms? Any suggestions? By the way, I've tried tuning up, down, batter and reso to the same note, at intervals, etc. and nothing seems to eliminate (or really reduce) this sound.

This is my first post, so I apologize if this has been covered somewhere else (I did search and couldn't find anything).

Thanks!

AXEMAN
10-02-2012, 09:38 AM
I tried using Evans G-2 heads on my Masters Series BRX drums which have 45 degree sharp bearing edges. I got the same kind of high pitched initial sounds YOU have. And I hated that sound.

I switched back to a single ply head...an Evans G-1 coated and that overtone went away...it was then I feel I made this discovery.

The Evans G-2 is a 2 ply head. (Emperor is also a 2 ply head) The plies are 2 separate pieces of plastic film and they are not fused together. When we apply tension to these heads the 2 plys tighten up at different rates. So what you're actually hearing is 2 separate pitches coming off of one head. Each of the 2 plies are singing different tunes.

There is only 2 solutions to this...Change the head to a single ply. Lately I find that Remo Pinstripes are sounding really awesome to me...combined with true reso's that are 7 mm thick. (An Ambassador should be nice too) You could also try an Ambassador top and bottom as well.

If you're listening to your drums using a mixer and mics when you play you may not hear the overtone. If you do hear the overtone you may try repositioning the mic for each drum.

You could also try applying a small piece of Moon-gel about 1 inch from the hoop, to your Emperor...that may kill the overtone but still afford you the sweet resonance you like.

Hope you find my comment helpful.

AXEMAN

staiken
10-02-2012, 11:15 AM
AXEMAN,

I really appreciate the quick response! I never thought about the double ply heads causing that sound, I'll definitely try single ply top and bottom and see where that gets me.

I did try moongel on the top (even tried 2 pieces), and still got that sound. The only thing I tried that truly killed that tone was putting foam inside the drums, which I'd prefer not to do long term. I haven't listened to the toms through mics yet, it may be something that either doesn't come through or does and can be addressed through filtering or proper EQ.

Do you think the interior finish of these drums could be contributing to the sound? This is the first kit I've owned where the interior finishes are smooth or lacquered.

Paradidle
10-02-2012, 03:20 PM
I just picked up a Red Metallic Reference Pure Kit (22x18, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16) and started tuning them last night. Rack toms and kick sound awesome, but I'm getting an odd high pitched ring upon initial attack on the floor toms that I can't seem to reduce. The tone after initial strike is incredible, so I don't want to lose that.

I picked up the kit 2nd hand and it has the stock batter heads and clear Remo Ambassadors on the resonant sides. I swapped both sides out for coated (Ambassador on resonant, Vintage Emperor on batter), and still get this overtone.

The toms do have a nearly polished feel (maybe lacquered inside, which I haven't seen before and I'm wondering if this is contributing to this sound. I put a couple pieces of acoustic foam inside the 16" as an experiment and it definitely killed off the overtone but it also killed the beautiful resonance.

Interestingly, I didn't notice this when testing a Reference Pure kit out in Guitar Center but am noticing it in the studio. The studio room is smallish with wood flooring (the kit is on a rug), and a decent amount of acoustic foam on the walls.

Has anyone else run into this when tuning their floor toms? Any suggestions? By the way, I've tried tuning up, down, batter and reso to the same note, at intervals, etc. and nothing seems to eliminate (or really reduce) this sound.

This is my first post, so I apologize if this has been covered somewhere else (I did search and couldn't find anything).

Thanks!

I use Emperornon top and ambassador on the bottom heads (reso) but i'm not experiencing your described problem. I now tune my toms with TuneBot, and i've found that "dip" in the tone that i like on the toms.

I have 8/10" - 8/12" - 14/16" toms.

dollaXdrummer
10-02-2012, 03:25 PM
I have that same problem with my 14x14 floor tom, but i'm pretty sure it's because I'm still using a stock reso head.

AXEMAN
10-02-2012, 03:56 PM
stalken,

NO...I do not believe the interior finish of your drums is causing the overtones you're hearing. My drums have no finish...just smoothly sanded interior and I got the same problem.

A suggestion as to why some may not hear it...is simply PITCH. If you're tuning your batter head to a medium to high tension....That could cause you to hear that overtone...but if someone else is tuning it to lower pitches that may make the overtone disappear.

Again...I suggest using Remo Clear Pinstripes over a clear reso...(7 mm) or a clear ambassador reso...(10 mm) If you want a warmer sound go with white coated reso and batter. If you want a darker sound...try ambassador black for reso and pinstripe black for batter.

It can get expensive searching for the right head combination....so here's another suggestion...if you have say....4 toms...pick the one in the middle. For my kit I have a 10, 12, 14, 16 set up...so I would pick the 12. Buy 1 combination of heads...and try that on the 12 alone. If you find you like that combination....THEN get the rest of your kit done up with the same head configuration. Some guys go all out and buy heads for every drum just to try something new..and end up NOT liking it..wasting their money.

AXEMAN

digga
10-03-2012, 04:08 AM
First of all: NEVER DO FOAM INTO a DRUM, that will kill everything!!! :mad:

I have a Reference Pure too, and my 16x16 sounds soooooo sweeeeeet, i never have problems to tune them (which does not mean that it does not take some effort!!!)
My art to tune...bring both heads to the lowest pitch...if you like more tone, bring one of them higher, play a little around with the different tensions of batter and reso...until youŽll find the sweet spot of the drum!
To reduce overtones try double layered and coated heads on top, and for muffling: two moongels stacked!!! will bring the best result on the floor tom (i think because of the higher weight! i tried 3 and more side by side, without any effect! so stacking moongels is the secret ).

A professional drum-tech gave me the tip to use emperor on bottom to fatten the sound...will be the next i will try out!

happy tuning and donŽt give up!

...and NO FOAM...:cool:

scooterdavis
10-03-2012, 06:40 AM
Great post Digga, +1. As paraddidle said he's working with a tune-bot, I have one as well. It is a B.A. piece of gear, and I get some insanely good and QUICK results...I cannot recommend it more!

SeelenlanD
10-04-2012, 06:59 PM
I think AXEMAN's responses have been right on the money. I don't have a Pure, rather the regular Reference series. I had some issues with my floor tom as well, but I use coated Emperors on my toms, with Aquarian Classic Clears for the Resos, and I use Moongel in about the same place AXEMAN reccommends. Sounds amazing! Granted, that combo might not work for you on a Pure...

And now I am curious about the stacked moongel theory that Digga suggested..something I had never thought of!

drummaman1
10-04-2012, 07:16 PM
I don't know what a stick slap overtone is?? are you hitting it with the rim?

I'm curious, can you make an audio file of it? It could be what you want the drum to sound like is not matching what the drum is actually sounding like.

Jutt8
10-05-2012, 08:25 AM
Don't forget that some rooms can play tricks on what you hear and what the mic hears. Get that drum outside or into a big open room and see how it sounds with different tunings.

staiken
10-05-2012, 10:33 AM
drummaman1, it's hard to explain exactly what that tone is (hence the poor attempt at naming it!). It's a high-frequency "ping" type sound right after you strike the drum with a stick (wood tipped, not nylon), and before you get the low end "growl".

I'm heading back into the studio today to try a couple more heads out and record the sound and try to isolate it to post it up here. I have 2 other kits in my garage (Legend and Pork Pie), and I just checked both 16" toms in the garage. I get a little of this sound with the Legend (16"Wx16"D with coated Ambassadors on batter and resonant) and little to NONE of the sound with the Pork Pie (16"Wx14"D with clear Evans G1 on resonant and clear Evans EC2 on the batter).

I'm wondering if it isn't mostly due to the studio room where we have the drums. It's a fairly small room with a TON of foam baffling on the walls and a cork ceiling.

perduramo
10-05-2012, 11:52 AM
drummaman1, it's hard to explain exactly what that tone is (hence the poor attempt at naming it!). It's a high-frequency "ping" type sound right after you strike the drum with a stick (wood tipped, not nylon), and before you get the low end "growl".

I'm heading back into the studio today to try a couple more heads out and record the sound and try to isolate it to post it up here. I have 2 other kits in my garage (Legend and Pork Pie), and I just checked both 16" toms in the garage. I get a little of this sound with the Legend (16"Wx16"D with coated Ambassadors on batter and resonant) and little to NONE of the sound with the Pork Pie (16"Wx14"D with clear Evans G1 on resonant and clear Evans EC2 on the batter).

I'm wondering if it isn't mostly due to the studio room where we have the drums. It's a fairly small room with a TON of foam baffling on the walls and a cork ceiling.is it like the sound you hear when you bounce a tennis ball off the ground?

Rhythm Devil
10-05-2012, 11:56 AM
is it like the sound you hear when you bounce a tennis ball off the ground?

Ha! I was thinking the same thing....only a basketball. "pinggg" :)

staiken
10-05-2012, 01:41 PM
is it like the sound you hear when you bounce a tennis ball off the ground?

Exactly!

Rhythm Devil
10-05-2012, 02:05 PM
My feeling is this is more prominent on thinner, coated heads because the coating is a kind of muffling. I could be wrong, but I do mostly use single ply coated heads. Being in a heavily muffled room will accentuate that sound from the drivers seat, but I think that is all....it's just you. I would just learn to ignore it and listen for (and imagine) the 'real' or actual sound of the drum if it was unrestricted by accoustics. Small rooms can mess with you. haha. Try different brands (Aquarian!) to hear slightly different materials used to make the heads. They are all different.

RG1820X
10-05-2012, 03:50 PM
I have had a similar issue with my 18x16 reference floor tom which sounds like it is voiced like a 16x16. I have solely used it as a bass drum and I have gone through the following heads to get rid of THAT sound:
Evans - G1 Clear & Coated (Ported and Unported), G2 Clear, EC2 Clear & Coated
Remo - Powerstroke 3 & 4 (Both Clear and Coated)
Aquarian - Studio-X Clear and Coated, SuperKick I Clear, SuperKick II Clear
The only heads that got rid of it was the PowerStroke 4's and the SuperKicks (but I lost a lot of the resonance with the SuperKicks - but they sound amazing so . . . I guess it is all good)

Kiwi
10-06-2012, 03:05 AM
Don't forget that some rooms can play tricks on what you hear and what the mic hears. Get that drum outside or into a big open room and see how it sounds with different tunings.

Good point, that has caught me out before.

Rhythm Devil
10-06-2012, 08:34 AM
I have given this some more thought. On my 16" floor tom I usually use two 1/8 slices of Moongel @ 10 O'Clock and 2 O'Clock positions. It takes that edge off and focuses it just enough. I used to put 1/8 slice on my 12+14 racks, but I like them wide open and 'bright'. My feeling is clear heads and 'that sound' is brighter and unrestricted...more resonant. With coated heads you get a sort of muted version like that bouncing ball sound.

perduramo
10-06-2012, 12:03 PM
Exactly!

I had that sound on my 14 ft and recorded with it and it wasn't picked up. I think the sound comes from the air getting pushed through the air holes on the side of the drum. The sound isn't there for me now so you just need to tune them from scratch. Again. I play in a big room so its nothing to do with the acoustics in the room. There's no fault with your drum so don't worry about that.

RG1820X
10-06-2012, 12:14 PM
I remembered something else that may be of interest. When I had nothing in the drum, I heard the high pitch, but if I held an EQ PAD (suspended in midair with my hand and NOT touching anything) in the floor tom, there was no audible high pitch. Recently, I have been using a small piece of foam that is held in place with Velcro straps on the inside shell. I also heard from my local drum shop that dropping a wash cloth in the drum helps to remove the high pitch. Just food for thought.

staiken
10-09-2012, 11:53 AM
First of all, I just want to say how impressed I am with this forum! Everyone who has responded to my original post has been thoughtful, helpful, and pleasant. Not what I'm used to on forums!

I did get back to the studio a couple days ago and replaced all the batter heads (10", 12", 14", and 16") with Evans EC2 Coated, put 1 moon gel on each batter head about 1" out from the rims and the toms sound incredible! I left the clear Ambassadors on the resonant heads as they're in good shape and sound fine. The 16" still has a little of the tennis/basketball ping to it, but playing the full kit with a variety of fills, it's barely noticeable. I didn't get enough time to record the sound, so I'm looking to do that within the next week so I can post it here.

Next step is to work on the kick drum - it still has the stock batter and resonant heads.

Any advice on kick heads? The drum is 22" x 18" and I was thinking of going Evans EMAD batter and EQ3 or Onyx resonant. I'll put a KickPort on for micing/sound and an EQ pad against the batter, but not planning on any other muffling (no pillows, blankets, etc.). Looking for some input before I drop close to $100.

staiken
10-09-2012, 11:57 AM
Here's a very grainy, low res picture from my cell phone. I'll post a better pic from my DSLR in a few days.

435658

AXEMAN
10-09-2012, 12:21 PM
Good to hear you tried Evans EC-2. One of the major differences between the EC-2 and other 2 ply heads is that dampening control ring the EC-2 has. It will help kill that overtone ring because that is what the ring does. If Evans made that ring thicker for larger diameter heads...I believe they will kill that ring without the need for moon-gel. You have done nice work and done a great job telling us all about your troubles and discoveries. So thank you for sharing.

Now about the kick drum....The BEST sounding combination in my opinion is Evans Emadd...single ply batter heads. I have used the Coated, Clear and Onyx...all of them sound amazing. The Evans Emadd black reso...with built in port...is the absolute best. Shove an audix D-6 inside the port and point it at the beater...6 to 8 inches away from the batter head....And you will have an amazing kick drum sound.

The difference between the clear...versus coated...is the coated gives you less POP...or slap when the beater hits it. Slightly lower pitch and the resonance is decreased ever so slightly. The clear is bright and glassy sounding...but still LOW. The dampening control rings that come with the emadd batter....Try them both out...they make a difference. Also the beater you use makes a difference. I use the Pearl Eliminator pedal with one of the hard plastic beaters. A felt beater is going to take slap out of the sound. The onyx versus the coated....Darker...deeper pitches is the only difference.

Also...Evans makes a bass drum beater pad that you apply to the batter head to protect it from the beater....You need one of those too. They make them for double or single pedal.

NOW....If you desire to use a reso that does not have a port...this is where things get more challenging with the bass drum sound. I tried a thin unported bass drum reso combined with an Emadd batter...and the drum was ringy. I changed to a single ply batter head...with a dampening ring (as the reso) and found it to be real nice and punchy....Full rounded sound.

AXEMAN

staiken
10-09-2012, 12:41 PM
The Evans Emadd black reso...with built in port...is the absolute best.

AXEMAN

Thanks for the response and advice. I was looking at this head as well. What do you think of this head with the supplied foam versus a more "traditional" resonant head (like an EQ3) with a KickPort installed? I've been pretty happy with the KickPort on other sets I've played.

AXEMAN
10-09-2012, 01:40 PM
The evans EQ 3 reso with a kick port installed...versus an emadd reso...with it's own version of kick port installed...NOT MUCH diffrence really in sound between the 2. There is a choice of color though. The emadd reso's only come in black...but you can get an EQ 3 in clear, frosted, coated white, smooth white, or onyx...the diffrence in sound here is what should be the priority. The clear is glassy sounding...or BRIGHT...as you progress through the order I have written each head gets less BRIGHT...and more dark sounding.

You can do a lot with a reso...I like no muffeling at all...With Emadd as a batter you should never need any other muffeling. I have a ported frosted EQ3 installed with a kickport on my maple sessions custom kick. Custom graphics on the reso head...sounds GREAT. (Even has a light inside to light up the artwork on the reso head.)

Another note I should make here...Evans used to make the black Emadd reso's with a cloth ring glued to the port...and included 2 foam rings which fit inside the cloth ring. The diffence between the 2 foam rings was density...one was heavier than the other. Natuarlly the heavier one provided more dampening. If you did away with the foam ring and installed a kick port in the hole...it sounded really good. TODAY Evans makes the Emadd reso with a plastic ring stuck to the reso head port...and provided foam rings which slide inbetween the plastic ring and the head. This plastic ring SHOULD make installing a kickport on this head very difficult. I don't know if you can remove the plastic ring to install a kick port or not.

AXEMAN

MusicMan
11-06-2012, 01:02 PM
Hi,

I have 14x12 and 12x10 custom Reference Pure floor toms (with legs) and haven't had any trouble tuning them. I'm using Aquarian Texture Coated Response 2 heads on top with the Aquarian Classic Clear heads on the bottoms. Both tuned to the pitch of the shell.

MM :)

brianscott
11-06-2012, 05:13 PM
My rp toms tune up great in all tunings, I am using clear vintage emperors on top clear ambassadors on bottom

Soon2AdjustYou
11-08-2012, 07:58 AM
I had a similar problem once with an older Ludwig kit. 16x16 floor tom. The problem wound up being some kind of weird phase cancellation between the top and bottom head. Try tuning them to the same pitch and tension. That solved the problem for me. Who knows, maybe it will for you too.

K3ith R
01-03-2013, 07:56 AM
Hi Soon2AdjustYou,

Not to hijack this thread but, how about some pics of your MMX Limited Edition Silver Sparkle kit?

MitchLyons
01-03-2013, 08:29 AM
I've had this problem.

1) Take all the tension from the lugs.
2) Finger tighten the lugs.
3) Put one palm over another and put your weight into the center of the head.
4) Give the lugs a half turn.
5) Repeat step 3.
6) Keep repeating 4 and 5 until you reached your desired sound, and that will seat the head. The sound you hear is caused by a part of the head not touching the bearing edge.

Evans and Remo (especially 2 ply heads) tend to do this because of their thin hoops, but Aquarian has a thicker, stronger hoop to prevent this.

Maple_Shells
01-20-2013, 02:13 PM
Try putting a few cotton balls in your floor toms. They dampen just slightly but not enough to kill the resonance.

nickd
01-20-2013, 02:24 PM
Ah yes, the old basket ball slap sound.

My new yamaha kit did this when I first changed the heads to Remo, all of the drums.

I think it's because the head has not had the time to settle down on the bearing edge and seat properly, thus only a knife edge of head is touching the drum leading to some rather strange overtones.

For every head on the kit I reccomend the above method of tuning too, works a charm for me. kick sound PHAT and jazzy.

Soon2AdjustYou
01-22-2013, 10:33 PM
Hi Soon2AdjustYou,

Not to hijack this thread but, how about some pics of your MMX Limited Edition Silver Sparkle kit?

I have yet to take good pics of the kit, and ive had them since 97. I've been gigging them lately but all the pics I take are grainy from the stage lighting.

It's a gorgeous kit. I have the Yamahas too. Those are a pretty highly desired kit and I get twice the compliments on the MMX than the maple customs. They sound and look amazing. I don't know if it was the 4 ply maple that makes them tune up so well or what. By far my fav drums.

Hijack mode off: